This page was overhauled and updated on the 30th of June 2017.
1. The Concise 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
The 48 Laws of Power is a book detailing the fundamental precepts behind the mechanisms of human psychosocial manipulation. It details an aspect of cunning, explains it, and then gives an example of its manifestation in history. I recommend the concise version over the full, as it cuts down on the copious historical examples given to illustrate the laws whilst retaining the knowledge necessary to comprehensively understand the laws.
2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
A diary written by an introspective and inquisitive long-dead Roman emperor with a strong grip on Stoic philosophy. Being that the text was not written with the intent it be published, it’s written self-critically in the first person, making it a deeply intimate and relatable read. This is the most authoritative text in this niche to survive from antiquity, helpful as a spiritual guide for how one should live their life.
3. The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence by Baltasar Gracian
A book of incredibly insightful social observations on the nature of human cunning from the keen mind of a renaissance Spanish philosopher. The proverbs are spectacular and retain their relevance in the modern era, and as each proverb only takes up only half a page to a page, the book is easily picked up and put down. This book is a great complement to the 48 Laws of Power, which borrowed from parts of this text. This book has two titles, the alternate title being “The Art of Worldly Wisdom”. This book is the easiest read on this list.
4. Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Antifragility is a an interesting book based on a novel philosophical concept. The author’s presupposition, is that some things are fragile (break under pressure), others are robust (resistant to pressure), and that others actually gain from pressure – which is what he dubs antifragility. Finding ways to incorporate the concept of antifragility into one’s character and decisions would lead to immense power, hence its inclusion in this list. I will warn you in advance however, this book is not an easy read. It’s easily the most difficult text on this list.
5. How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This book will teach you about social interactions and how to make yourself more charming and likeable to others. Be careful to balance the methods given in this book with the Machiavellian tenets outlined in The 48 Laws of Power, as the books tend to contradict one another in their views. Do not be frivolously charming, your charm should serve you rather than enslave you into a passive nice guy role. When you charm to appease rather than to influence, your wield charm ineffectively.
6. Mastery by Robert Greene
This is “the book of monk mode.” Robert Greene discusses what it takes to master something and looks at various masters and how they became masters in their respective fields. The gist of the book is: put 10,000 hours into something, identify a master in the field you’re working in and attempt to have him mentor you. This book is about applying yourself to an art to reap success.
7. The Rational Male by Rollo Tomassi
The only book out there which has compiled the ideas under the TRP umbrella and explained them in-depth. This is “the red pill in book form.” Think a guy needs help, want him to take the red pill, but don’t want to risk your reputation? Buy him a copy of The Rational Male. If he hates it and doesn’t see the value in it, at least you tried. You have the plausible deniability of saying you were misled by the Amazon reviews. You don’t have that when you show a guy the TRP message board. Rollo’s book is the perfect way to introduce someone to the red pill without risking a friendship.
8. Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
“I don’t know how to lift! How do I lift? Even if I join a gym and pay for a personal trainer, how do I know I can trust them to give me good advice?”
You can’t, and your personal trainer will probably be a don’t give a fuck steroid injecting salesman rather than someone who has your best interest at heart. Don’t waste your money on a personal trainer, buy this book instead. Read it inside out, take yourself down to a gym, practice your form with the bar and begin weightlifting. It will take you courage to start working out, but this book will tell you everything you need to know to get you there. Alternatively, if you have the space and money, you can set up the necessary equipment in your home. Mark Rippetoe is a master in his field. With this book, you are in good hands.
9. The Way of Men by Jack Donovan
This book talks about how to be good with other men, what it takes to really “be a man.” This book is about the nature of man and what makes an effective man. Any male young or old interested in the cultivation of his masculinity should, as such, find this to be a compelling read.
10. No More Mr Nice Guy by Robert Glover
I never was a chronic nice guy, so I did not need a book to teach me how to “stop being too nice.” However, repeatedly I have heard glowing reviews about this book from self-confessed former nice guys. If you are someone who is “too nice” this book will probably change your life by making you less of a doormat. If “being too kind” is not something that’s ever plagued you, give this one a miss. This is the book for spineless guys looking to reclaim their spine. If you are a pussy with too much pride to be honest with yourself about yourself, buy this anyway.